Campus News

Savannah woman leaves UGA nearly $1 million estate gift

A lifelong animal lover has left a gift of nearly $900,000 to benefit the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.

Betty Lorraine Butler, a Savannah resident who retired from Union Camp in 1990, died at her home Sept. 10, 2015. Friends say she owned dogs throughout her life and cared for stray animals near her home. She was always fascinated by the interface between animals and humans in health and disease.

The gift will initiate an annual seminar that will be known as the Butler Seminar Series. Butler’s estate gift will be used to bring world-renowned scholars to the UGA campus to lead a discussion about the benefits and risks of human-animal interactions. The college also will establish the Betty Butler Scholarship Fund, which will be awarded annually to students dedicated to companion animal medicine.

“The College of Veterinary Medicine is grateful for this generous bequest from Ms. Betty Butler. We are honored to direct this wonderful gift toward the causes Ms. Butler was passionate about,” said Dr. Sheila Allen, former dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Butler was born in Savannah on Dec. 21, 1924. She graduated from Savannah High School and Armstrong Junior College before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She majored in dramatic arts and music and was also a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. After graduating in 1946, she joined Union Camp Corp. in its Industrial Relations Employment Office for five years, where she tested and interviewed job applicants. In 1951, she moved to New York City, where she lived for four years and worked in personnel before transitioning to a position as a retail buyer. She returned to Savannah in 1955, following the death of her father, and a year later, resumed her former role at Union Camp.

By the early 1960s, Union Camp promoted her to its college recruiting staff, where she focused on recruiting both recent college graduates and also experienced personnel. She would later be promoted to manager of employment and recruiting, a position she held until her retirement.

Butler was active in the Savannah Little Theatre, and she held leadership positions in the United Way. She was also a member of the Pilot Club, the area Republican Women’s Club and the First Baptist Church of Savannah.